The true test of a great haircut is the ability to wash your hair, comb it, and go out without lengthy styling measures. The best haircut is one that suits the texture of your hair so that you are not a slave to your blow dryer, curling iron, or hot rollers.


Occasionally, a steward would serve, although most of the time it was an honesty bar, with a blog on the bar-top where we marked down what we took. Our drinking was daily and heavy. The three of us apes squeezed in one or two beers at lunchtime and worked towards that point in the late afternoon when, filthy and sweat-streaked and burning, we would fall into the showers and hurriedly scrub, and then dress – still damp – in our cool, white tropical uniforms and almost run down the flying-bridge to the bar. That first cool, cool, Tiger or Amstel or Carlsberg or Anchor or Kirin or San Miguel went down, down, down like some sweetness dropped from heaven. We would spike open the tops with the can-openers we carried slung on string around our necks (which was the fashion in the East in the early 1970s), and drink from the can, unless there was a senior officer in the bar, in which case we used a glass. The first third would go down with a pleasure like nothing I can describe. Then I would pause and light a Rothmans cigarette with my Ronson lighter and pull the smoke deep, deep down into my lungs and wait, with my eyes half-closed, then let it ease out gently. Then I would drink the rest of the beer in two or three swallows and open another. Dinner was at 18.30 and, with speed and luck, we could be in the bar by 17.

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